How does summer school help develop confidence?

Confidence is a life skill that is unique to each person. It is about recognising and understanding your capabilities and valuing yourself and the decisions you make. For young people, it can take time to build that confidence, but summer school is the perfect place to begin your journey! 

In the fleeting period of time that is spent at summer school, each student is hurdling through personal milestones, immersing themselves in new friendships and adopting a whole new learning environment. All of this takes confidence and behind the scenes, their self-esteem levels are constantly growing.  

This year has been so rewarding for the staff of SBC as they have seen students come out of their shells and into themselves through each challenge and experience.


For many students, coming to summer school may be their first time living independently and they will have to harness the skills to make sure that they can thrive when doing so. Even the initial steps through the door take great confidence and it continues to grow from there. 

Embracing their independence and by making their own choices of activities, friends and even foods, students are able to believe in their own opinions and actions outside of the comfort of a familiar space. Every independent choice that they make will give them more opportunities to go forward and make those bold decisions that they need to confidently lead their own exciting lives.  

A Safe Environment 

Being in an environment that nurtures individuality and praises the unique qualities of each person can work wonders for confidence.  

Within each school, a community is created in a safe environment that acknowledges the personal journey that everyone takes and encourages each student to speak their minds knowing that there will be no judgement, only support and guidance.  

Supportive Staff 

A nurturing environment is not achievable without the right staff in place to create an atmosphere and opportunities that complete it. As soon as they arrive at summer camp, staff proactively make connections with every child and begin to recognise their amazing individual attributes that give them a reason to be confident.  

Mentors, Activity Leaders and House Parents all play an essential role in ensuring that students have opportunities to express themselves freely. This can be through encouraging students to participate in group activities, allowing them to share games from their home countries or have some one-on-one time to reflect on their day. SBC Staff are constantly encouraging students not to let these moments pass them by but to face them head-on with confidence and enthusiasm.  

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Social Skills 

Summer school experiences are renowned for creating new and wonderful friendships!  

The idea of actively seeking out new friends can be a daunting task for many, however, the fear and anxiety surrounding this quickly fades once they realise everyone is in the same boat and a simple smile can go a long way. As the summer goes on, students begin to feel more confident introducing themselves and asking questions that lead to common ground and ultimately a new friendship! 

SBC welcome students from all over the world to each school and this means that they may be interacting with people that they would not usually spend time with. The diversity of cultures means that they often must adapt their social skills to get the conversations flowing but what they learn from these interactions are invaluable and will help them grow as a person. 

The kindness demonstrated between students creates trust and allows them to relax and open up, to share parts of themselves that they may not usually have the confidence to, allowing them to be their true authentic selves and encouraging each other to be the best they can be. 

The relationships that they form allow students to know themselves more deeply, they can let go of any stereotypes that surround them at home and truly learn who they are and discover who they want to be. Once someone truly knows who they are, they hold themselves with more confidence and self-awareness that projects into the world. 

Take a look at some tips for making friends at summer school! 


Opportunities to present

A more direct way of demonstrating the confidence that has been developed during summer school is through presentations, talent shows and practical demonstrations in front of an audience. 

At SBC, students are given the opportunity to showcase their work in their weekly Time to Shine presentations. Throughout the years, staff have seen student’s confidence be transformed in the second week of the presentations, they have the confidence to proudly share their ideas and knowledge which is then celebrated by staff and peers. 

During evening events, students who do not usually desire to take centre stage often join their friends in a group performance. Being surrounded by friends that support them and are going through the same experience can add comfort and build their confidence for the future. 

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New Challenges 

Whether it’s learning a skill, engaging in an activity they have not tried before simply making their bed themselves in the morning, they are taking new challenges every day at summer school.  

SBC give students opportunities to try new things that they might usually be averse to through activities such as English Plus adventure sports, theatrical events or even taking part in a live trial for Law students! Students become more self-assured as they overcome these obstacles and face new and exciting challenges. Each new adventure ignites curiosity and promotes creativity, which opens up and celebrates areas that students did not know about themselves and this self-discovery journey has an incredible effect on their self-esteem.  

Classroom Confidence 

Through their academic journey, students are rewarded for their hard work and begin to build a positive relationship with learning that allows them to acknowledge where they can improve in each area and see them not as ‘failures’ but as opportunities to develop their understanding. Having a positive outlook on learning can take away the fear they might have when attempting academic challenges or expressing themselves creatively. 

Class sizes are much smaller than your standard school classrooms, therefore, they are a great space for students to speak their minds and practice their public speaking without feeling overwhelmed with people watching them. In group sessions, tutors begin to see the quieter students speak up with new ideas and take lead in debates that they are passionate about which in turn leads to interesting discussions outside of the classroom.  

Compared to the usual term-time curriculum, academic programmes at summer school give students the freedom to explore areas of the subject that they find the most appealing and they have the time to learn the curriculum more fluently. Focusing on the subject that they are interested in and seeing themselves enhance their understanding so deeply and quickly inspires students to share their new knowledge with confidence and excitement. 

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We hope that each student recognises the value in their newfound confidence and that they utilise these skills throughout their life. They can go forward, approaching their academic and personal endeavours with courage and certainty knowing that there is nothing holding them back from new opportunities! 


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